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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence




In Ireland, television (TV) screen time is a highly prevalent sedentary behavior among children aged less than five years. Little is known about the influence of parental rules and policies or screen time availability and accessibility within the home on children's TV screen time behaviors. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the extent to which parents' sociodemographic and sedentary behaviors are associated with children's TV screen time; and to determine the associations between parents' rules and practices, home physical environment and children's daily TV viewing. Three hundred and thirty-two children aged 3-5 years and their parents participated in the study. Children's TV screen time and home environmental characteristics (parents' rules and practices and the physical environment) were assessed using questions from standardized and validated questionnaires. The data were analyzed using binary logistic regression. Within the different sedentary behaviors evaluated, parents' TV viewing was positively associated with children's TV screen time (OR 1.65, 95%CI 1.09-2.50, p = 0.018). Leaving the TV on, whether or not it was being watched, was associated with a 38% increased probability of children watching ≥ 1 h TV daily. Children whose parents restricted their outdoor activity were more likely to watch ≥ 1 h TV daily (OR 2.01, 95%CI 1.04-3.88, p = 0.036). Findings from the study demonstrated that parents' own screen time behaviors, leaving the TV on whether it was being watched or not and restricting outdoor play were associated with higher children's TV viewing in the home environment. This knowledge is essential to inform future interventions aimed to address the increase in screen time among young children.